Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Houston, TX
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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition sometimes found in individuals who frequently suffer from acid reflux. Acid reflux refers to a single occurrence or instance of acid regurgitation from the stomach into the esophagus, causing a hot sensation in the chest known as heartburn.
A patient is typically diagnosed as having mild GERD symptoms when acid reflux happens one or fewer times a week or when moderate-to-severe GERD when acid reflux is experienced at minimum two times per week. GERD is known to present at any age, but it usually begins close to 40 years of age. When the condition is ignored, GERD patients have been known to come to develop a complication called Barrett's esophagus. if you think that you might be suffering with GERD, we urge you to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Consultants in Houston, TX as soon as possible.
What causes GERD?
The food you consume travels through the mouth and esophagus before passing through a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which opens to allow food in and closes to keep stomach acid down. Anytime the LES grows compromised, it can lose strength and fail to prevent stomach acid from entering back into the esophagus. Oftentimes, there is not a single catalyst that increases the chance of this occurring frequently, but a person is at greater odds of suffering from or developing gastroesophageal reflux disease if they meet any of these criteria:
- Using alcohol
- Being pregnant
- Coffee consumption
- Consuming raw onion or garlic
- Using tobacco
- Hiatal hernia (when the upper part of the stomach pushes into the diaphragm)
- Eat spicy foods
- Lie down often after eating
- Eat large meals late at night
- Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
What are the main symptoms of GERD?
The primary symptoms of GERD may feel very much like acid reflux, but they tend to occur with greater frequency. These symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic cough
- Regurgitation of sour liquids or food
- Lump-in-the-throat sensation
- Chest pain
- Poor-quality sleep
Please book a meeting with a GI doctor at Gastroenterology Consultants today if you have any of these symptoms frequently and are in pain, or if you self-medicate with over-the-counter heartburn medication more than two times per week.
How is GERD treated?
Your digestive health provider may recommend addressing your GERD with lifestyle alterations, medical treatments, or a combination of the two. Treatment approaches to prevent or minimize GERD in Houston, TX patients include:
- Do not eat at least two hours before bedtime
- Minimize caffeine/coffee intake
- Fundoplication (surgical procedure performed to wrap the stomach around the LES)
- Avoid foods and beverages likely to cause acid reflux (see those listed above)
- Over-the-counter antacids
- Avoid smoking
- Eat slowly and in moderation
- Stay awake and stand up after eating
- Lose excess weight
- LINX® device (magnetic beads wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus)
- Medication to strengthen the LES
- Inform your gastroenterologist about any medications you are taking
- Sleep on an incline
- Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
What is the difference between GERD and acid reflux?
GERD and acid reflux may seem like the same condition on the surface, which can make understanding the difference a little challenging. Simply put, GERD is acid reflux that occurs more than once a week for an extended period of time. If you suffer heartburn every day or often throughout the week, or you have symptoms that don’t subside with over-the-counter medications, gastroesophageal reflux disease could be to blame.
What foods should I cut from my diet if I have gastroesophageal reflux disease?
If you are diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, you may be advised to avoid foods and beverages that enhance stomach acid production. These items may include:
- High-fat foods
- Foods high in sugar
- Spicy foods
- Red meat
- Citrus fruits
- Foods containing salt and pepper
The team at Gastroenterology Consultants can provide additional information on other foods and drinks to stay away from if you are diagnosed with GERD.
Will GERD shorten your lifespan?
GERD is not likely to be life-threatening. It can make performing daily tasks unpleasant at times, but you can likely find reprieve with proper care. If untreated, GERD could lead to additional GI issues. These include esophagitis (irritation of the esophageal lining) and Barrett’s esophagus, a disease that can damage the esophagus (the structure that links your mouth to your stomach). Getting the care required for this disease can help protect your overall health and wellness.
How long does it take for GERD to improve once treatment starts?
Certain factors might affect how long it could take before the effects of GERD improve. These include the kind of medication you take, the amount of damage that has occurred from GERD before being diagnosed, and if you maintain a diet free of the foods that worsen symptoms. With the proper treatment, you will likely notice that GERD symptoms lessen as time goes on. Although you may not be able to reverse GERD completely, you should be able to manage your symptoms successfully.
Find relief from GERD
GERD is a commonly diagnosed problem in the U.S., affecting the daily lives of millions of individuals. With appropriate medical treatment, however, the condition can be handled and its unpleasant symptoms relieved. If you or a loved one is dealing with GERD, the board-certified team of gastroenterologists at Gastroenterology Consultants is ready to help. We encourage you to reserve a consultation at our facility to receive treatment for GERD in Houston, TX.
Ive known Dr.Raj for about 20yrs and he has always been professional and thorough. He doesnt spend alot of time with me explaining things however i work in the medical field and my education precludes me from needing lengthy explanations of every detail. They are a busy office so im not sure if this is everyones experience. I will say he will check every inch of your gi system to find out whats going on though. He also is a straight shooter. No beating around the bush. I like that. I have alot of respect for him. You cant do much better than him and the other m.d.s in his practice.
Dr Raj is very thoughtful. The morning AFTER the prep the facility called to cancel my appointment due to a water boil emergency. I was EXTREMELY grateful when Dr Raj did the procedure at another facility for me. What a fright! Everyone involved to make the arrangements was amazing. Thank you!
Every thing is good
The visit was very good and informative.
(Translated by Google) It was an excellent treatment that the staff of doctor harry ojeas md gave me (Original) Fue un excelente trato que me dieron el personal del doctor harry ojeas md